tv PBS News Hour PBS December 13, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: the house of representatives moved toward passage of legislation today continuing a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we get the latest on today's debate, and look ahead to the battle in the senate. >> ifill: then we update the investigation into more than a billion dollars that vanished from a now-bankrupt brokerage firm once headed by former senator jon corzine. >> where is the money from funds that were supposed to be kept separate? customer money? >> brown: margaret warner examines the changing political landscape in russia, where prime
minister putin faces widespread anger over alleged voting fraud and new opposition in next year's presidential race. >> ifill: we look at a project aimed at training young people to sort out fact from fiction in the news. >> mark twain said that a lie can get halfway around the world while truth is still putting on its shoes. in this hyper behind beinged information age, a lot can get all the way around the world and back while truth is still getting out of bed. >> brown: and we assess the politically charged docket at the supreme court, now including a challenge to arizona's anti- immigration law. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> intelligent computing technology is making its way into everything from cars to retail signs to hospitals; creating new enriching experiences. through intel's philosophy of investing for the future, we're helping to bring these new capabilities to market. we're investing billions of dollars in r&d around the globe to help create the technologies that we hope will be the heart of tomorrow's innovations.
i believe that by investing today in technological advances here at intel, we can make a better tomorrow. the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: a republican bill to preserve a politically charged tax cut made headway in the u.s. house today. but the move sparked an immediate warning from the white house. it was the latest act in the building drama over a payroll tax cut extension for 160 million americans.
republicans pushed a bill to keep the tax cut for another year. also extend long-term jobless benefits again while gradually winding down the maximum time period from 99 to 59 weeks. but they also attached a separate provision which would force federal approval of the hotly debated keystone oil pipeline to run from can did to texas. house majority leader eric cantor argued that's about cleating jobs. >> the president said he wants to make sure that we create jobs, and he wants to be there for the middle class. that's what this bill does. tens of thousands of jobs if not more. >> brown: democrats like new york's charles rangel insisted republicans are in effect holding the payroll tax cut hostage hostage to the pipeline. >> let's get rid of all the pipeline language. let's do what the bill is supposed to do, and let's not put in something that could impede the passage. >> brown: president obama had delayed a decision on the keystone pipeline until 2013.
today a white house statement said he would veto the republican bill if it gets to his desk. that seemed unlikely though since senate democrats served notice they'd block the house republican measure first. in addition to the pipeline provision, democrats opposed financing the bill by raising medicare premiums for wealthier seniors and extending a pay freeze for federal workers for another year. but both sides also had one eye on the clock as it ticked down to the congressional holiday recess. >> we're going to have to act here before the week's out, and we are in favor of extending the payroll tax holiday for another year in favor of extending unemployment insurance with some reforms. >> republicans seem eager to get out of town. some have even suggested they're willing to leave before we reach a compromise on the payroll tax cut and other things. we're not going to do that.
we're willing to stay here until that happens. and we work something out. >> despite the seeming dead lock, congress watchers like sarah binder of the brookings institution say there's much strategizing going on behind closed doors. >> raising taxes in whatever form they don't want to do that on christmas. republicans and democrats can't have those headlines. well, we'll just blame the republicans but it's not that way. it's a pox to be on both their houses. >> brown: the lack of agreement also threatened to tie up other key legislation. it was widely reported that white house aides want democrats to hold up a $1 trillion bill to keep the government running past friday. that is until and unless a deal is reached on the tax cut extension and unemployment benefits. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, billions of dollars gone missing; election protests in russia; lessons to tell fact from fiction; and three big cases on the supreme court's docket. but first, with the other news
of the day, here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: using a cell phone while driving-- in any form-- should be banned. that was the unanimous recommendation today of the national transportation safety board. it said the ban should apply both to hands-free and hand-held phones and other portable devices. that would exceed restrictions already imposed in many states. we get more from deborah hersman, head of the ntsb. thanks for being with us. 35 states already have on the books some sort of ban against texting while driving. why do your recommendations to ban all portable electronic devices go further than that? >> unfortunately in ten years of investigations, we've seen that distractions cause accidents that result in fatalities, lost lives and injuries. we've seen this in all modes of transportation but in particular on our nation's highways. >> sreenivasan: if the purpose is to decrease the amount of distracted driving couldn't the case be made that when i change music stations on my car radio, when i eat, when i talk to another passenger, i'm
equally as distracted? >> well, for sure. there are a lot of distractions that are facing today's drivers but one of the things that we know is that all distractions are not equal. it's the distractions that require cognitive attention. it requires you to split your task. human beings are really just not very good at that. what you do is end up diverting attention away from the primary task at hand. that's driving. it's different when you have a passenger in the car with you. they can help you. they are aware of the traffic situation. they're aware when things get complicated. they don't expect you to respond when you get into a tight situation. but the person on the other end of the line really is not helpful when it comes to reacting and adapting to the environment. >> sreenivasan: the ntsb has recommendation authority but it doesn't have any enforcement authority. how, if states were to take your ban, would they possibly enforce something like this? >> well, as you mentioned,
there are 35 states that already have texting bans. law enforcement authorities are actually faced with many difficult tasks when it comes to enforcing laws. detecting impaired drivers whether they're on drugs or whether they've been consuming alcohol. detecting drivers who are performing erratically. it's the things that you see when you're out on the road and you know that somebody is texting or they're talking on the phone and they're distracted. they're not maintaining speed. they're not maintaining their lane. they are distracted. their driving is erratic or not consistent. unfortunately we see this too often. it doesn't take long to have a catastrophic event or an accident. as we saw in our investigation today, the, as the board reported so, there was a driver who was sending and receiving 11 texts and 11 minutes before the accident he was in a work zone and immediately traffic came to a stop. he was involved in a fatal accident. no call. no text. no post is worth a human life.
>> sreenivasan: head of the ntsb, thanks so much for your time. >> thank you for having me. >> sreenivasan: the federal reserve offered a slightly improved assessment of the economy today. but the central bank made no move toward new efforts to boost growth. that sent wall street down late in the day. the dow jones industrial average lost 66 points to close below 11,955. the nasdaq fell nearly 33 points to close at 2579. at least 28 people were killed in violence across syria today. in one incident, antigovernment activists said security opened fire on a funeral procession near the turkish border. and a syrian human rights group reported an american-born syrian blogger, razan ghazzawi, has been charged with spreading false information and trying to weaken national sentiment. in belgium, a man armed with grenades and an assault rifle launched a deadly assault on holiday shoppers in the city of liege. all told, four people died, and more than 120 were wounded. we have a report from martin geissler of independent television news. >> reporter: without any
warning or obvious motive, 32-year-old created mayhem in this belgian marketplace today. from a vantage point above the shoppers he threw at least three grenades and opened fire with automatic weapons before turning a gun on himself. two teenagers and a pensioner were killed. a two-year-old girl is fighting for her life in hospital tonight. others are receiving treatment for their injuries. eyewitnesses spoke of the chaos that unfolded, describing scenes more reminiscent of a battlefield. >> i saw all the glass breaking. i saw people running, screaming. i drive my car and then i saw in the market all the people lying down, bleeding, between the glass. >> reporter: he was known to police here. they raided his home three years ago, tipped off he was growing drugs but found a huge cache of weapons. he was sentenced to almost five years but served less
than two years in jail. the major investigation already underway may in time reveal his motive but questions are already being asked as to how a man with his record could have developed the arsenal and the anger needed for an attack like this. without the authorities becoming aware. this evening, the authorities are working to reassure the city that the incident is over. that's little comfort to the scores of wounded and the families of the three people who have lost their lives so far. >> sreenivasan: a separate attack erupted in a market in florence, italy. a gunman there killed two street vendors from senegal and wounded three others before killing himself. italian news accounts identified him as a right-wing extremist who had taken part in racist rallies. the man at the center of the child sex abuse scandal at penn state university waived his preliminary hearing today. jerry sandusky's decision means his case will proceed to a trial. he faces more than 50 counts of sexually abusing ten boys across a 12-year-period. sandusky has denied the
allegations, and defense lawyer joseph amendola said today, that has not changed. >> i don't want there to be any misunderstanding. we are not in any way conceding guilt. in fact, jerry is more adamant than ever of his innocence, in expressing his innocence at trial. today's decision was simply a tactical measure based upon an analysis of what was going to transpire. >> sreenivasan: instead, the defense said it wanted to avoid having sandusky's accusers amplify their claims in open court. a pennsylvania state prosecutor said it was probably for the best. >> i haven't spoken to the victims. you've got to show and understand that you can't forget the victims in this. you want to have some feelings of compassion for the hurt that they have. you know, i think i would imagine that they would be somewhat relieved not having to go out and testify and be cross-examined.
>> sreenivasan: sandusky's next scheduled court appearance is in january. a trial date has not been set. president obama warned supporters today that his reelection is "not going to be a slam dunk." he told an audience in washington that he has worked to heal the economy, but americans are still skeptical. earlier, the president's top campaign advisors said they expect republicans will stage a drawn-out fight that will weaken their nominee. scientists' search for the so- called "god particle" in physics may have taken a new turn. two research teams at the cern laboratory in switzerland announced today they're closing in on the so-called "higgs boson." the sub-atomic particle has long been thought to be a building block of the universe, but its existence has never been proven. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to the congressional investigation into a collapsed financial securities firm and its high-profile leader. judy woodruff has the story. >> woodruff: former mf global ceo john corzine was back at the u.s. capitol today for the
second time in two weeks. this time facing a committee of former senate colleagues. their question was a simple one. >> where is the money? i mean, how do you answer that? where is the money from funds that were supposed to be kept separate, customer money? >> woodruff: that money, $1.2 billion worth, vanished when mf-global filed for federal bankruptcy protection in october. but corzine insisted again he does not know where the funds went. >> to trace missing funds, it will be necessary to analyze and reconcile multiple hundreds of pages of daily transactions, multiple bank statements from many countries and to review account records of more than 38,000 customers. while i was at mf-global i would not have seen those records and i have no access to them now snrd corzine, a former new jersey governor and
u.s. senator took over as head of mf-global in march of 2010. the firm collapsed on october 31 after betting heavily on european government debt. it became the 8th largest bankruptcy in u.s. history. or zion resigned as ceo on november 4. he was joined at today's hearing by two executives still with the company. bradley abalow is president and chief operating officer. >> i can assure you that i share your interest and the public's interest in finding out exactly what happened. at this time, however, i do not know the answers to those questions. >> woodruff: the answer was the same from henry steamcamp, steve financial officer. >> unfortunately i have a limited knowledge of the specific movements of funds at the u.s. broker-dealer subsidiary, mf-global inc. during the last two or three hectic business days prior to the bankruptcy filing. >> woodruff: under federal securities laws, brokerage
firms are required to keep client money separate from company funds. kansas republican senator pat roberts suggested someone must have authorized transfers to cover company losses. >> funds don't simply disappear. someone took action. whether legal or illegal. to move that money. and the effect of that decision is being felt across the countryside. >> i never directed anyone at mf-global to misuse customer funds. i never intended to. and as far as i am concerned, i never gave instructions that anybody could misconstrue. >> woodruff: late in the day, however, terrence duffy, head of the group that controls the chicago mercantile exchange disputed corzine's claim. >> also participated in a phone call with senior mf-global
employees wherein one employee indicated that mr. corzine knew about the loans that had made from the customer segregated accounts. >> mr. duffy, we've spent a lot of time here today. we probably should have had you on first. you have sort of tossed a bomb here right in the middle of who we're trying to find out who has the responsibility, who has the authority. >> woodruff: corzine will appear a third time when he goes before another house committee on thursday. for more >> woodruff: for more on the news of today's hearing and the legal implications of the missing money, we're joined by azam ahmed. he's been covering the story for the "new york times." and jacob frenkel is a former federal prosecutor and securities and exchange commission enforcement lawyer. he has also represented individuals under congressional investigation, and is now in private practice with the law gentlemen, thank you both for being here. azzam ahmed, let me start with you, back to what senator pat
roberts called a bomb that had been dropped into the hearing, this testimony. first of all, who is terrence duffy, the witness who presented that testimony? and what is cme-global? >> terrence duffy is the ceo of the cme group which is the exchange where mf-global does most or did most of its business. transacted most of its trade. they are also what is called a self-regulating... self-regulatory organization so they're responsible for regulating mf-global and ensuring that they comply with various laws. >> woodruff: what exactly did duffy testify today some. >> it was strange because initially it seemed like a bombshell, like john corzine knew about the misuse of funz but upon further examination it seems that he was merely saying john corzine knew that money had been transferred from customer accounts to another division in the company. that on its surface is not necessarily illegal. there are legal reasons for it.
so while it was clear his implication was to say that mr. corzine somehow knew what was going on, it fell short of saying that mr. corzine either authorized the misuse of funds or knew that those funds were being illegally transferred. >> woodruff: how much of an effort was made today to clarify what mr. duffy, the man who was making this accusation, was saying? >> not enough. we spent the last half hour or more trying to nail down what exactly he was saying because it seemed very obvious at first that he was lobbying an accusation against mr. corzine. and the various senators on the committee seemed to pepper him with questions to that extent. however, we were in contact with cme folks. they fell short of saying that mr. corzine knew exactly what these customer funds were going to. for instance, whether he knew they were illegally transferred. i think to have unveiled that at that time didn't afford
necessarily the right amount of scrutiny over those statements. >> woodruff: jacob frankel, it's easy to get in the weeds. people who have been watching and not following this story in minute detail. what's the significance of this testimony today? how big a deal is it? >> if it really is the bombshell that it appears to be, what it really does-- having been a prosecutor for 14 years-- it helps investigators really hone in, laser in, on individuals who may have access to the information about not only what mr. corzine did or did not know but other senior executives may have known or may not have known because the focus of the testimony by the senior executives of mf-global has really been focused on, number one, their intent, or the lack of intent to in any way violate the law because that is is what really could implicate criminality. but the other thing that they've really tried to do and
mr. corzine really had focused on this in his house testimony last week was really to establish that there was a business judgment. there was a protocol that was followed even if in the last few days everything fell apart. >> woodruff: you agree with azzam ahmed's assessment so far that it's just really not clear yet how big a bomb, again in the words of senator roberts, this may snb. >> no question. i think that's a fair assessment which is we don't know. i think senator roberts did ask the right questions. eye dellly you would someone such as mr. corzine follow up, be the next witness to give testimony. but really all it does is help give focus. the other thing to keep in mind is mr. duffy was giving testimony about something that an auditor had heard from an employee and sort of float up to him. that's multiple levels of hearsay. my preference, having done this for a long time, is i want to sit back and let's see what the investigation
ultimately revealed because that's where we'll get the answers. >> woodruff: back to you azzam ahmed, "new york times". what else did you hear today that was important for us to know? >> honestly, a lot of it was similar to what happened last week when mr. corzine testified. i think he morely clearly delineated his... he was more absolute, rather, about how he did not authorize or know that these funds were being misused and didn't even believe he said anything that could have been misconstrued to misuse these funds. but aside from that a lot of it was the same territory he had before which is that he doesn't know what happened to the missing money. that he is just as eager to find it. he can only answer to a certain degree of specificity given the fact that he hasn't had access to emails, records and documents. >> woodruff: jacob frankel, the difference today was that he with him two current executives of mf-global, both the chief operating officer and the chief financial officer. all three of them now are saying they have no idea where
this money went. to an outsider, that doesn't sound plausible. what about to somebody like you who has prosecuted this thing before. >> it actually has, you know, it has an element of believability to it because they are at the senior levels of the company. the one that's really the most troublesome for me is the chief financial officer who is still there. in other words, he stayed on post bankruptcy to help with the winddown and the management and really help to sort everything out. so that one is more concerning. ultimately, you know, there was a very calculated decision here not only by mr. corzine but that set the stage for the similar calculus by the other executives. that is, once they made the decision to testify, they had to work a very, very narrow line to make sure they do not implicate themselves in culpability while advancing the positions that really will help them or really sort of set the stage for the defense. primary concern for anyone who
is at the center of such an investigation is criminality. >> woodruff: can you say at this point how good a job they are doing of walking that line? >> well, i actually have been rather impressed by how mr. corzine in particular has straddled that line. to be able to get out in essence what are his defenses? did not intend at worst maybe someone could have misconstrued what i said but clearly not trying to commit a fraud or perpetrate a fraud and to really advance that there was business structure and systems. is that really credible? will that play out at the very end? i have concerns about that but in terms of staking out his position i think he's doing a very good job of doing that. >> woodruff: as someone who has been reporting on these hearings we know there's another hearing coming up, a house committee. former senator corzine going to be testifying there. what is it that congress is trying to get from him and from others at mf-global? what's behind the congressional investigation here? >> i think it all boils down
to what happened to the customer money. that mf-global failed is a tragedy. there's a number of people who are unemployed but it doesn't cause systemic risk or reverberate through the financial system. ultimately what happens is there's up to $1.2 billion of farmers, traders and others' money that has vanished. they're trying to figure out, a, where that money went and b, how it happened. as mr. corzine stated in previous testimony. was there someone who hit the red button that allowed them to transfer from what should have been a completely safeguarded account into another area of the company that could then use that money as it wished. >> woodruff: jacob frankel... i'm sorry. finish your thought. >> to the frustration of many of the congressmen they're not getting those answers from any of the men who testified today. >> woodruff: just quickly jacob frankel, whatever comes out of these congressional hearings, significant bearing on what happens in court or not? >> probably not.
given the way this is all played out. great sound bites going. it's an election year. for every member who is asking questions. ultimately the place where this will be sorted out is through the government investigation at the end of which we're going to find out what level of culpability if any and to whom that will be attributable. >> woodruff: jacob frankel and azzam ahmed, we thank you both. >> thanks for having me. >> thank you. >> ifill: in russia tonight, more political turmoil and challenges to vladimir putin's power. margaret warner has that story. >> warner: it was a scene without precedence since putin came to power in russia 12 years ago. tens of thousands of people demonstrating saturday in moscow and other cities. >> people want fair elections. people feel that their vote was stolen.
>> warner: the crowds accuse putin's united russia party of fraud in the parliamentary elections held december 4 and demanded they be recounted or rerun. they expressed growing anger over corruption and one-party dominance of the russian government. the protestors' unhappiness was galvanized last september when prime minister putin announced he would run for a third term as president next year. switching jobs yet again with the current president medvedev. in response, finance minister kudrin resigned and criticism swelled on russian internet sites. last month putin was booed by spectators at a martial arts event in moscow. a rare display of public disapproval captured on this amateur video. on election day, united russia e k-ed out a bare majority losing 20% of its seats in the old parliament and the accusations of fraud came
quickly. this video, posted on you-tube, purported to show ballots that had been filled out ahead of the actual voting. anger boiled into the streets last week with several protest that brought a heavy show foors by police and large numbers of arrests. among those detained were opposition leader and activist blogger. after international criticism, the government allowed last saturday's protest to proceed without incident. on sunday president medvedev went on facebook to promise an investigation. but he did not endorse the protestors' complaints. monday in washington secretary of state hillary clinton welcomed the announcement and said medvedev has to act. >> the proof is in the pudding. we'll wait and see how they conduct such an investigation, what the consequences are. so we're supportive of the announcement of investigations, and now we hope that it will
be followed through on. >> warner: medvedev met with leaders of the four parties that won seats and said the new parliament will meet december 21 despite the claims of fraud. >> in the cases where the rights have been really violated, a fair decision should be made. but the state duma must begin work. parliament members always have a lot to do. >> warner: in the meantime putin now faces the prospect of new competition in the upcoming presidential election in early march. billionaire tycoon who owns the nba's new jersey nets entered the race yesterday. and the anti-putin protestors say they are not done. organizers are calling for another round of mass demonstrations on christmas eve. joining you now are matthew murray. a nonprofit he helped found with a group of russian and american businesses and ngos. it works to promote integrity in
russian government and business entities. and fiona hill, a senior fellow at the brookings institution. from 2006 to 2009, she served as national intelligence officer for russia and eurasia at the national intelligence council. welcome to you both. fiona hill, it wasn't long ago that putin was hugely popular for raising living standards and bringing order to russia despite his concentration of power. what happened? >> well i think in many respects it's what we call or some people call the seven-year itch of politics. after a certain period, the... it gets steal. you see that with many leaders. tony blair or margaret thatcher using my british perspective here. enormously popular when they came in. towards the end of their tenure, after they had gone through two terms and we really got into the end of that decade, they started to lose their popularity. people got a little tired of seeing them. in other words, mr. putin's bun has gone steal. he hasn't been able to
reinvigorate it. >> warner: what would you add to that, matthew murray, about why it suddenly seems to have coalesced and erupted like this. >> i think it's become clear that the institutions that have been set up to handle social issues are not working. the system isn't working. it has to be dismantled. new laws and institutions need to be established. >> warner: i know. we have a phenomenon that is erupting on the streets. i mean, do you agree with the analysts who say very much this deal that putin and medvedev struck again in flipping jobs that that was really a spark? >> that was a spark to a change in the political culture. but we're witnessing right now is a change in the way people think about politics. consciousness raising is occurring on a mass scale. being supported by the social media. and it's a very interesting moment for russian citizens. >> warner: ironically though the putin government has totally controlled the television. they hadn't really controlled the internet much. had they? >> they've actually taken a very interesting tactic
towards the internet. they didn't go down the route we've seen in china where they essentially intercepted and imprisoned very prominent bloggers, trying to block their websites and various internet portals they haven't liked. what they tried to do in russia was fill the internet with their own content. they couldn't be everywhere at once. what we've seen is russians have become some of the most active social networkers in the world. they have their own version of facebook to contact you. they have innumerable postings on you-tube. it's become a prolific way of people exchanging information with each other. essentially people were getting their own information about politics outside of the government purview. >> warner: tell us about the opposition, matthew murray. who are the people in the streets? is this just a phenomenon of the urban twitter-otti or do the election results suggest deeper discontent. >> i think it's broader than that. it's the middle class finding its voice and finding its identity. they're saying it's time for us to self-organize.
it's time for us to take responsibility. we actually have a seat at the table and let's assert our rights and hold the government accountable. >> warner: and they at least from some of their chants, they seem to feel as if putin was treating them like em bess isles. explain that. >> the phrase that's been repeated several times and in moscow throughout this past week is "we exist." they're making a statement that they will no longer be defined solely in relation to the state. they're going to have their own independent autonomy. >> warner: fiona hill, how do you regard the way putin reacted? how the first week, very heavy hand. police, arrests. but then saturday letting the protests go forward. >> putin is a real student of russian history for one thing. he knows that in the past the long past of russia-- because he's looked back over several hundred years-- whenever the government cracks down, that has been the spark for revolt. the russian revolution in 1917. revolts in 1905.
during the soviet period similar things. it... what brought gorbachev down was looking back 20 years was the heavy handed approach. putin knows there's a real darng of things getting out of hand if they come down too heavy handed. what he does from his kgb training is he has been a student for years of analyzing how people think. so they're probably engaged right now in going back and looking at focus groups and polls. he's declared there will be a big call-in session where he's going to questions from the populous. they're going to listen to people's grieveances and figure out how to react. they're recessing and trying to pick up on this mood that matthew has talked about to figure out what they need to do to try to address it. >> warner: i know you've been back for a little bit, not long, "a month. what is this sort of unformed opposition doing right now? if putin is sitting in the kremlin with his people trying to analyze the body politic,
what are they doing? >> first of all, they came up with a list of demands. they're finding action items that they can use to focus their frustration and their anger and get better organized. >> warner: give me two. >> they've demanded that the election results be.... >> warner: exactly. >> they also demanded that there be new legal institutions in place that can monitor elections in the future. they're taking steps... i mean, this is the key. the key is whether after the demonstrations have subsided a bit and after they've been able to make an assessment, will they do the painstaking work that's necessary to make russian laws and institutions work? will they reform their own system? i would argue that they have plenty of tools available to do that. >> warner: what do you make of this billionaire getting in the race? one, is he a credible opponent for putin? two, does it suggest to you that the oligarchs or the
broader business class may turn against him? >> well, i'm very cynical about this. i think just as matthew has described about the opposition there's a whole range of demands here. there is a very large segment of the business class that would like to see their... they'd like to have more say over really the institutional running of their business. they want to have rule of law and would like to see a lot more implementation of the institutional arrangements. they would like to be able to invest in the way that they see fit. they don't like to have the heavy hand of the state or the or coming from the lack of enforcement of laws. but this man is hardly an example of the average businessperson in russia. he's phenomenally rich man. he has benefited from this system. he doesn't speak to most of the people who have been out on the streets of moscow. he's a celebrity. basically i think that this is not a real contender, a real challenger for putin. in fact what i would assess is that we're likely to see a whole host of similar kinds of
candidates get into the race and we might end up with a very crowded field. >> warner: in which case that would benefit putin. >> greatly benefit him. >> warner: where do you see things going from here? >> first of all, i think that the system has to be changed. it's a systemic problem. so when it comes to the next steps, civil society has to sit down and decide whether they're going to build independent courts. how are they going to insist that law enforcement officials do their jobs? putin has described his system as the power vertical. it's now time to establish horizontal accountability. to hold government in check and hold business in check and give society an equal.... >> warner: very briefly for you both starting with you matthew murray, do you think that putin is capable of leading this reform? is he adept and nimble enough to try to get ahead? >> i think putin is probably over. but putin will survive in some form. >> i think he certainly is
capable. he thinks of really creating a reform from the top. what the difficulty will be is whether some of the sent i ams that matthew has described, these grass root demands be filtered up-and whether he will address them. that's the big question because his instincts are not to respond to protests from the streets. he's not going to be listen to go some o these voices demanding a different kind of change. >> warner: fiona hill and matthew murray, thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> brown: now, information is coming at young people from everywhere these days, but where to look and what to believe? >> you want new sources that are transparent. you want to be able to see who is doing the reporting. see what their agenda. see who funds them. see if they are, in fact, a credible source or not. >> brown: how can young people learn to be better consumer of news and information?
a recent class at walt whitman high school in maryland is trying to do just that: helping students distinguish news from opinion, fact from fiction, amid the daily onslaught of tv, radio, newspapers and social media. social studies teacher collin o'brien began with a real-life example. a fast-moving email, in fact, a hoax, claiming that all schools in great britain had removed study of the holocaust from their curriculum because the muslim population claimed it never occurred. >> you thought this was true because your teacher gave it to you and it was an email so it must have been true. >> brown: how did the hoax become accepted as fact? o'brien had his students do a very common google search entering the terms holocaust, denial and england. voila. he came up with an article in the british tabloid newspaper the daily mail. >> schools are dropping the holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending muslim
peoples. >> did the email provide documentation? no. >> brown: the lesson is part of an effort called "the news literacy project." a four-year-old program now taught to middle- and high school students in 21 inner city and sub urban schools in the washington d.c. area, new york city, and chicago. it was started by former los angeles times investigative reporter and pulitzer prize winner alan miller. >> a century ago mark twain said that a lie can get halfway around the world while truth is still putting on its shoes. in this hyper linked information age a lie can get all the way around the world and back while truth is still getting out of bed. there is so much potential here for misinformation. for propaganda, for spin. all of the myriad sources that are out there. more and more of the onus is shifting to the consumer. >> brown: and a slew of recent studies supports the notion that young people seek out traditional news sources less
and less and that they have a difficult time knowing how to judge the legitimacy of the information that does come at them. in response, the news literacy project, funded by a combination of foundations, corporations and individuals, developed lesson plans for teachers like eliza ford at the public charter school in washington d.c.. >> we learned about how important it is to see every bit of information that we get on facebook, on twitter, in our email box, as news and making sure that we really figure out how to know what to believe. >> now when i watch the news, i listen for opinions and try to see if it's more opinion more than fact. >> brown: the program also brings journalists into the classroom to run workshops. on the day of our visit, pierre thomas, senior justice correspondent for abc news, explained why savvy news consumers should be wary of
quotes from anonymous sources. >> why is sourcing so important, tick tarly on a story like this? >> if you didn't cite the sources people would think they're trying to make another big news story to add on to all the hype that they're putting on. if you do put sources we know that this is a factual base. >> a lot is at stake. because to the degree that the public is educated about how they get their information and having the proper tools to discern what they should be paying particular attention to, that's going to inform how they vote for president. that's going to inform how they vote for city council. that could inform how they vote for who is on their school board. >> brown: several students said they were getting the message. >> i want to get something out of it that is is important. maybe not exactly to like the news but to understand it more. it does concern you because it happened around your community, and your community affects you. >> now when i get a forward on
my text messages or my phone or my computer, i will actually read it and it will stay something. if i don't believe it, just delete it. >> brown: for her part jennifer, the founder and head of the school, said the benefits go beyond news literacy. >> the news literacy project and the curriculum that our teachers have been developing with them would fit into middle school curriculum across the country and have a huge focus on non-fiction reading and writing which we now understand are so much more central to making sure that our kids are going to be prepared for college but also competitive in the workplace. this fits perfectly. >> brown: in fact, the idea of making this into a national program got a recent boost from michael katz, a member of the federal communications commission. >> we need to focus on bringing all these together, in the public sector and in the private sector to develop an on-line news literacy
curriculum that can be made available across the nation. this can be a powerful antidote to the dumbing down of our civic dialogue that has taken place. >> the editorial, what state governor will no longer authorize execution? >> brown: that's the goal back at whitman high school, where this teacher engaged students any way he could, from a news scavenger hunt. to a cross word puzzle with key concepts. >> editorial. >> documentation. balance sneech. >> brown: his students learned lessons learned even through rap. >> good for quick information but it doesn't have any citation so therefore it's not reliable and its sources are not viable. >> brown: the news literacy project's miller said a lot is riding on this effort. >> if young people don't value quality journalism, don't look for it, don't actually demand it, then it may cease to exist. if they can't distinguish between the value of work that
is gathered with these kinds of standards and in an effort to present it dispassionately and fairly and with different points of view, then why would they ever seek out quality journalism? >> brown: the further the effort, the news literacy project in the american library association are launching workshops around the country to make high school students better media watchdogs. with a specific focus on the 2012 political campaign. >> ifill: finally tonight, how the supreme court could reshape the political year. tackling separate controversial cases, the court will rule on the limits of government power in three branches of government: judicial, legislative, and executive. just yesterday, the justices agreed to take up a tough immigration law from arizona that would-- among other things-- punish illegal immigrants who apply for or work in arizona, and require law
enforcement to detain anyone suspected of being in the state unlawfully. the court has also agreed to consider whether federal judges acted properly when they redrafted legislative and congressional district lines in texas. and in what could turn out to be the year's most consequential case, the court will decide whether a new federal law that requires individuals to possess health care coverage is constitutional. the high court is expected to hand down all three decisions by this summer. joining us to assess the court's big year are newshour regular marcia coyle of the "national law journal." and jeff shesol, author of the book "supreme power: franklin roosevelt vs. the supreme court." marcia, starting with you. how are these cases alike and how are they different? >> well, they're different because they involve either different laws or different provisions within the constitution. they're alike because they all have to do, if you step back from them, with the proper role of the different branches
of government as well as the relationship between the federal government and state governments. if you boil it down simply, they all have to do with power. who should exercise it properly under the constitution. >> ifill: in your experience covering the court, how unusual is it for all three branches of government to get supreme court review like this? >> i don't think it's unusual at all. but i think what's unusual about these three cases is the potential political ramifications they may have for the upcoming election. as well as issues that people really care about and could have an impact on individuals' lives. >> ifill: let's talk about that, jeff. how big a political impact does the almost accidental collision of these three cases have on this court? how unusual is that? >> well i think each one of these cases has an impact politically. if you take each one of these issues, they all have a tendency to be explosive.
particularly in an election year. when you line them up like this and you get by june a series of decisions that may add up to one big message from the supreme court, there's the potential to really amplify the debate that we're already having in this budding election year about the proper role of government. it's a debate we always have in american life. but there are periods of time when that debate really flares up. i think in the years since the economic crisis, since 2008 we've been in a kind of rolling argument about this. it's certainly to be ratcheted up a few notches in the election year. >> ifill: is there any way to compare this to past election years where the court has had its impact? >> absolutely. i think the supreme court is often an election issue. the balance of power on the court is almost always at stake in a president shl election a new president or a continuing president usually has the chance to appoint somebody. so there's that. but i do think you have to go all the way back to 1936 when franklin roosevelt was facing
his first re-election fight to find a supreme court docket in an election year that was as packed with political dynamite as this one. >> ifill: marcia, in order for something to get to the court, there has to be disagreement in the lower courts. in the case of the redistricting case in texas, how did it end up coming to the court? >> the redistricting case is very complicated procedureally because it's playing out right now in three different courts. it came to the supreme court because the state of texas challenged a federal court in san antonio texas which had drafted what is known as an interim redistricting plan. the texas legislature drafted a redistricting plan after the 2010 census. texas is what is known as a covered state under the voting rights act because it had passed discrimination against voters... because it had past discrimination voters. as a coverage state its redistricting plans have to be
approved by the department of justice or a federal district court in washington. it has not yet gotten clearance. the department of justice has raised questions about some of the districts that have been drafted. a whole raft of organizations, civil rights groups, have challenged the redistricting plan in a federal court in san antonio texas. because this has dragged on and has texas not gotten pre-clearance or a final decision, the court in san antonio felt it needed to draft an interim plan because the primary was coming up, filing deadlines were coming up. texas said that court did not apply the proper standard in drafting its plan and appealed to the supreme court. >> ifill: in the arizona case, this is something in which the governor of arizona wants the supreme court to provide some kind of clarity. >> absolutely. there's a lot of energy in the republican party right now to bring problems as we define them back to the states and to empower the states to handle
these problems. there's a strong belief on the right that that's what the constitution says. and that the federal government has been overreaching. and so you have a great desire not only on the part of arizona but on the part of a number of statses to take over essentially immigration enforcement, enforcement against illegal immigration. yes, arizona wants clarity but they want clarity in a particular direction. there's a very clear outcome they're aiming at. >> ifill: a lot of states want clarity on the health care mandate as well. how is it that all these kinds of challenges end up at the court at once? anybody watching this would think innocently that there is a design behind this. but that's not the way it works. is it? >> it really isn't. the cases come to the court baseded on how quickly the lower courts act, how quickly a lawsuit is filed and then the lower courts act. everyone knew in a sense that these three issues would be challenged. the law and the redistricting
plans and immigration. but it's purely coincidence. the court has discretion so what it takes. with the health care law it was a no-brainer that they would take it because a lower federal appellate court struck down an act of congress. the solicitor general of the united states who is is obligated to deten acts of congress went to the supreme court. it's classic for the court to take a case like that. with arizona, it had some discretion. the obama administration said, "wait. there are lots of these challenges pending in the lower courts. wait until several federal appellate courts have dealt with it and then you can look at the arguments and consider it." but the court decided to take it. and texas, it was a little bit ahead of the game because the lower federal courts not yet ruled on the redistricting plan. however, the primary is coming up. the filing deadlines are there. obviously the court felt it had to move. >> ifill: there's an affirmative action case out
there somewhere as well. >> there is. it's right on... the court has conferenced on it and we're wait to go see if it's going to take it. it involves the university of texas. >> ifill: jeff, how fair is it for non-legal observers to look at think that it's perfectly natural for the court to involve itself in political matters? >> well these are political matters but they're also constitutional matters. i don't think anyone is arguing they're not legitimate and big constitutional questions at stake in these cases. i think that there are always folkss who imagine that the court wants to stay out of these matters, don't want to become an issue in the campaign year or ever. that's true. the court is not eager to become an issue. but i think what three cases remind us is that this court and particularly as constituted by its present members is not at all shy about stepping right into some of the biggest debates we're having in this country. >> ifill: jeff shesol author of supreme court and marcia
coyle, our regular newshour regular from national law journal, thank you both very much. >> pleasure. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day. house republicans moved to adopt a payroll tax cut extension, but the bill faced a possible presidential veto because it also mandates approval of a hotly debated oil pipeline. the national transportation safety board called for a sweeping ban on using cell phones and other portable devices while driving. and a gunman in belgium killed three people and himself, and wounded more than 20 others. online, we look at the sub- atomic particle that may help scientists better understand our universe. hari sreenivasan explains. hari? >> sreenivasan: we have the latest on the hunt for the elusive higgs boson, and why it's so hard to find. that's on our science page. on our world page, we explore what happens when u.s. troops leave afghanistan in 2014. will the international community step in to promote development? and tomorrow morning, we will
live stream jim lehrer's interview with secretary of state hillary clinton. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll air part of jim's interview with secretary clinton on the newshour. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: bnsf railway. intel. sponsors of tomorrow. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life.
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